A few minutes after his childhood dream became a reality, Colin Kaepernick was asked a simple question.
“So, how do you feel?” his dad, Rick, asked.
Colin did not answer.
Instead, his sister-in-law, Lindsay, filled in the blank. “Just look at his face,” she said, causing the handful of people in this particular, mostly private moment to burst into laughter. Of course, the 2006 Pitman High graduate and former University of Nevada quarterback later agreed to multiple interviews in which he explained how he felt Friday afternoon after hearing that the San Francisco 49ers chose him as the 36th pick overall in the second round of the 2011 NFL Draft, but the ear-to-ear smile he revealed after his dad’s question said it all.
He was happy.He’d predicted this moment when he was a fourth grader at Dutcher Elementary School. In Bret Sutterley’s class, Colin was asked to write down expectations he had for his future self. One predication stood out: To “play on the niners or the packers even if they aren’t good.”
“It’s kind of crazy that things worked out this way,” Colin said, taking a breather inside his parents’ home in Turlock from the aftermath of being drafted. “I actually forgot about (the letter). For things to work out the way it did, it’s amazing.”
He was also relieved, especially after spending Thursday evening not hearing his name called in the first round. He was bummed. But his emotions changed Friday morning when he got a call from the 49ers organization.
“They talked about wanting to trade up to try to get me,” Colin explained. “They didn’t know when.”
It happened early in the second round, when the 49ers gave the Denver Broncos their second-round (45th overall), fourth-round (108th) and fifth-round (141st) selections to pick Colin at No. 36. He became the second footballer from Turlock to be drafted since 2009, when the Broncos selected Turlock High graduate and former Fresno State standout quarterback Tom Brandstater in the sixth round.
Colin wants to make an impact right away. He’s a major piece of the Jim Harbaugh era, referring to the former University of Stanford coach who was hired to take over the struggling 49ers. Colin first worked out with San Francisco last month, his first of about a dozen private workouts with NFL teams.
“Coach Harbaugh is a very energetic coach,” Colin said. “He was on the move, playing catch with me, running around. I mean, it was definitely a workout that stood out in my mind. Whether I got an opportunity to play or not for the 49ers, I was hoping, but I wasn’t sure it wasn’t going to happen. In the end, he told me he liked everything I did. He said my release was good. A lot of the throws I made were really good. It was kind of wait and see from there.”
Now, Colin enters a 49ers organization that, as an 11-year-old Colin once predicated, isn’t very good. San Francisco managed a perfect preseason last year before stumbling to a 6-10 record, prompting the firing of coach Mike Singletary. The 49ers then hired Harbaugh, whose biggest assignment in the offseason is to find a reliable quarterback.
Alex Smith might re-sign with the 49ers, but he has shown in the past that he’s not very consistent with his play. So expect Colin to compete for the starting spot.
Colin was so eager to begin his dream job that he decided to make the nearly two-hour drive to San Francisco to be formally introduced alongside Harbaugh on Friday night, just hours after he was drafted.
Colin shared that rare moment with his close relative and friends, only broadcasting his reaction on Skype that was shown on the NFL Network. In the video, it shows him in a pair of red shorts and a 49ers hat. The Kaepernicks had no idea of Colin’s NFL destination until about a minute before, which was enough time for someone to grab the hat inside the home to put on Colin’s head.
Happy faces all around.
Colin’s dad, Rick, admitted that he got emotional.
“I cried when my son (Kyle) graduated from Cal Poly,” Rick said. “I cried when my daughter (Devon) graduated from Cal Poly. There were tears of joy. I didn’t get to cry when Colin graduated from college because he was down at LA Tech playing football. So I told him today that I was crying because I owed him one.”
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